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11 Celebrity Solstice Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Caribbean - Western

If it wasn't for seniors (60 and above ) half the fine restaurants in the USA would go out of business in a week. Also 1/2 the cruise ships would be scrapped within a year. Seniors have the money and the time to travel at any time of ... Read More
If it wasn't for seniors (60 and above ) half the fine restaurants in the USA would go out of business in a week. Also 1/2 the cruise ships would be scrapped within a year. Seniors have the money and the time to travel at any time of the year. We have been on 4 Celebrity cruises and have no complaints, food was good to excellent , cabin and room attendants were superb. Embarking ( 20 minutes at most) and disembarking (15 minutes or less) were well organized. Cruise was a cocktail cruise. They offered it to 130 people. It include 3 classes on making and tasting cocktails plus a 4 course Tuscan lunch with cocktail pairing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
After two satisfying cruises with Princess, I was looking to try a different cruise-line. Our experience on Celebrity Solstice was very comparable to Princess. Parking and boarding in Ft Lauderdale is simple and went smoothly. I parked at ... Read More
After two satisfying cruises with Princess, I was looking to try a different cruise-line. Our experience on Celebrity Solstice was very comparable to Princess. Parking and boarding in Ft Lauderdale is simple and went smoothly. I parked at Park n Go and was on the ship within 40 minutes or so. Our 2 pieces of luggage arrived at our room before late dining. With some effort, I was able to get a spot at early dining. It was full when I booked a week before departure. The shows were better than I ever expected...The "Cirque" type show is amazing.The magician/comedian was hilarious. Song and dance was better than average. I went to a show every night and was never bored. The glass blowing demonstrations are also great, and can be sat in on at any time they are going on. I thought the pools were well configured and not too noisy. My wife and I mostly used the solarium indoor pool. It has very comfy lounges, air conditioning, and elevator type music playing. I did lay by the outside pools to get suntan for about an hour 4 or 5 days. I had no problem finding lounges available. I will occasionally move towels from empty lounges so I can use them. For the most part, no problem with "chair savers". This was spring break and Easter week and I still always found a place to lie down. The ship itself is clean and new feeling. Easy to get around. I will cruise on any solstice class ship any time. My interior room was large enough and the bathroom and shower were very well laid out. The closet is a little awkward. We ate all dinners in the main dining room. Some entrees were less than inspiring, others were nearly perfect. Desserts were outstanding as I expect. The breakfast and lunch buffet had good variety and the food was fresh. I will cruise with either Celebrity or Princess again without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
A little about "us": We've been cruising for 30 years on Cunard, Regent (long gone), Royal Viking (long gone), Seawind (long gone), NCL, Windstar, HAL and Celebrity. This was our 5th Celebrity cruise and the line remains our ... Read More
A little about "us": We've been cruising for 30 years on Cunard, Regent (long gone), Royal Viking (long gone), Seawind (long gone), NCL, Windstar, HAL and Celebrity. This was our 5th Celebrity cruise and the line remains our favorite. In October 2010 we cruised on Solstice and believing it to be the most beautiful ship we have ever sailed, I came home and booked this cruise to celebrate what I laughingly and lovingly call my Birthday of Many Decades. Early in our cruise we received extremely sad family news so of course a pall came over the cruise for us and made it difficult to have a good time. Still, all in all this was another wonderful experience about which I have few complaints. I'll get those out of the way first. I booked the 2010 cruise through a travel agent and this cruise directly with Celebrity. I thought booking directly and having hands on control over my booking might provide even better attention to my requests if that's possible. It made no difference and by booking with Celebrity we gave up the OBC we would have enjoyed. We sailed in Concierge Class cabin 2105 each time. This is a terrific cabin location on the hump on Deck 12. We enjoyed the deep balcony which is great in every respect ... in the sun if you like, away from bad weather if it rains and harbored from the winds on a bad day. It's a quick one flight up to the Ocean View and easy access to all venues except the Solstice Theatre. I highly recommend this cabin because the ship never feels too large or too difficult to navigate. TRADITIONAL DINING: In 2010, with the diagram in front of me, I requested a specific table and was thrilled when my request was honored. This time I requested a table in the same area, noting about 5 tables that would be perfect. So I was extremely disappointed to board ship and find us assigned to a table tucked away in a corner, under the stairs by a service entrance. I spoke with the Maitre D' who saw no problem moving us since so many in 2nd sitting wanted 1st sitting. We were assigned the next day to an 8-top round table I was very happy about. In 30 years of cruising we've been fortunate to meet the most incredible people at dinner and some have become friends for life. So we choose a large table and we've never been disappointed. We have never changed our table. But with the introduction of specialty restaurants,there is never a guarantee that anyone will show up even after they have requested a table for 8 or 10. Why anyone who intends to spend 3 or 4 nights at alternative restaurants would request a large table unless traveling as a group I just don't understand. It spoils the fun for those who like to socialize at dinner. We arrived at our table the 2nd night only to find we were dining alone. The others had gone to Murano Restaurant that night. For reasons explained to me by one of the Asst. Maitre D's, we were moved again because a large group sailing together wanted each table to be exclusively for their group. The 3rd night we arrived at our new table for 10 and there was just one person. He was a wonderful gentleman who we really enjoyed, but there's something about 3 people at a table for 10 that feels lonely. On the 4th night we were joined by another couple and we all had a great time the rest of the cruise. We were still only 5, but we had a good time together. And so ends the negative part of the cruise until disembarkation which was the absolute worst we have ever encountered so I'll get it out of the way now. It was night and day between this year's cruise and last year's cruise. We smoothly took our leave from the Solstice about 9:20. But instead of descending the gangway, we exited from Deck 2 out into a frigid Ft. Lauderdale morning, wind whipping off the water. We were funneled through the equivalent of at least 2 football fields to another building where we were corralled like cattle toward our exit through Customs. I'm not sure why we were unable to exit the building through which we had embarked (as we did last year), but after going through this endless line and finally being freed into the sunlight, it only added insult to injury to be directed to "follow the green line" if being met by private car. Pulling 3 suitcases on my own, with my best years for such an activity well behind me, it turned out we had to walk all the way back to where our cruise began the week before (another 2 football fields). The fault rests with the government cutbacks of U.S. Customs Officials; there can't have been more than 4 or 5 agents for 3000 people. I applaud them for their work (not to mention their cool calm in the storm of people) in trying to filter through thousands of people for the one person who may pose a threat to the security of our country or who decide to deviously sneak in something undeclared. It's an extremely difficult job and to leave it to 4 or 5 agents is just not realistic. So it took everyone down a peg or two after being treated like royalty all week to be herded together like so much chattel with no explanation as to why we were thrown off the ship only to have to wait endlessly in line and for many of us another walk all the way back to where we should have been in the first place ... A sad and exhausting end to an otherwise wonderful cruise. We questionned one security guard who passed our line and his response was "This is nothing; you should have seen it yesterday with 6000 coming through". Somehow it was small solace that someone else had suffered more. If that tactic worked we'd all be thanking our lucky stars we weren't on Costa in the Mediterranean last week ... but knowing someone had it much worse than you did doesn't help when you're going through it ... later, definitely, but not at the time. If this is the new normal for disembarkation maybe the cruise lines have to have a later time for embarkation so that people can disembark more slowly. So now the high points. First, in my opinion Celebrity's Guest Relations still soars above the others. I have never had a bad experience no matter how small the request. And when our personal crisis arose back home, they were quick to offer assistance in every possible way they could. I applaud them. If you're a Captain's Club Member do not overlook the "premium offers" in your stateroom. Most were completely useless to me, but there is a coupon for 25% off your first booked internet package. There are a few other offers that might be nice for you so be sure to check it out first thing. OFFICERS & CREW: Everyone who served us from Silk Harvest (our first night), to our waiters in the Epernay Dining Room, to the Ocean View Cafe, was always there with a smile. No matter where we went, within moments of sitting, we would be offered something from the bar and if we declined we felt no discomfort in staying right where we were. In fact throughout the ship I cannot think of any member of the crew who didn't greet me warmly wherever I went. The same can't really be said of the Officers who I felt were a disappointment this time, but that's not ever a big issue for me as long as the ship stays on top of the water I'm good. An added bonus came during the show on our last night. Captain Gerry Larsson-Fedde proved to be skilled in more than one department. I won't spoil the surprise if you're going soon, but don't miss it if he's mastering the ship when you sail. Our CD was Stewart Turnbull. I have little to say about him; he could have been on board or not and it would have made no difference to me. I was happy with the few activities we took part in but beyond that, for me, his personality left a lot to be desired. On a positive note, he was in pretty good humor about his mistake in giving us the wrong showtimes one night, but that was the only hint I saw of a real person inside the mask. We had a fantastic CD on our cruise last year so this was a sharp contrast to that experience. Despite reports of declining entertainment, we disagree. Antonio Salci at the piano is an amazing talent. Neal Austin's "magic" (or lack thereof) and comedy was a delight and uproariously funny (although I did hear the usual whiners saying if this was the best Celebrity could do they were in trouble ... some people have no child in them and need to find it). David Burleigh's comedy had me almost weeping with laughter at times plus he was adorable which never hurts. We thought the Celebrity Entertainers, without exception, were particularly good this time. I was sorry to see such a poor showing at the shows for the 8:30 diners; it was very sparse which makes it hard for the entertainers. We did not go to all the shows because they were the same as our last Solstice cruise and with the 8:30 dinner seating this time, some nights the show wasn't until 10:30 or 11:00 and we just weren't in the mood. We're not getting any younger and we've noticed we fizzle out a little earlier than we used to . We're going back to 6:00 dinner seating. TOURS: We booked two tours through Celebrity and both were outstanding. If we did the Western itinerary again, I would rebook both tours. On Cozumel we did the Dolphin Encounter and Sea Lion Show at Chankanaab. Both my husband and I fell in love with "our" dolphin, Rachel, who was 24 years old and recently had a baby who wasn't ready to interact yet, but swam near her mother and brought many smiles. Actually I don't think any of us stopped smiling the entire time we were in the water with Rachel. They rip you off terribly with the pictures, but I'll never regret the $110 we spent for 80 photos of our time with Rachel. I went in saying I wouldn't purchase them, but how many dolphins will I kiss in this lifetime? This was without question the high point of our cruise. The 2nd tour was a day at Maya Key Private Island Retreat in Roatan, Honduras, just a stone's throw across the water from the dock. I should mention that I love the port of Roatan. Sure I know it's manufactured just for us cruise passengers, but I don't care. I loved the music playing below our balcony all day long and the quaint looking buildings with bougainvillea cascading over the 2nd floor walkway. Maya Key is a wonderful private island which has been beautifully designed. It has wonderful walkways, a perfect quiet beach, wonderful snorkeling (we were told) off the long pier, a very nice pool, a delicious buffet luncheon and clean rest rooms. There are rescued and endangered animals, I saw a Jaguar, a Margay, and I was most drawn to the Black Howler Monkeys who enthralled me for so long that my husband was ready to send out a posse from the beach. It was a relaxing, wonderful day at a time we really needed it. The ferry ran back to the ship every 30 minutes so you could return to the ship at leisure. Back on board, I fell asleep on our balcony to the sounds of the island's music. We had to cancel our plans for Friday in Costa Maya which was a big disappointment because we had looked forward to our private tour to Maya Chan Beach Resort. If you have read or heard about this private tour, I was very impressed with Mark when I emailed the day before our tour explaining our situation. He was quick to respond and refund our payment for the tour. For that reason alone I would choose this tour again and I'm only sorry we didn't get to meet Mark and enjoy their small piece of paradise at Costa Maya. In the end, it rained a lot that day so we didn't even go ashore. To be honest the port didn't look very inviting and had the longest pier I've ever seen. There was, however, a tram you could take a good part of the way. Our last day at sea was very windy and quite cold as we made our way across the Gulf of Mexico so most people kept to the inside rooms. It was the only time it felt crowded. If we were people who enjoyed lying on the pool deck, it would not be something we could have done on sea days ... way too many people. I couldn't understand why the spa room was kept so unbelievable cold; people were huddled under towels which seemed to detract from the relaxation of the room, but what do I know? I was extremely grateful to the Spa when my nails chipped the first day after my manicure and they completely redid the chipped nails and applied a new coat of polish on all of them. They refused to take anything for this and I was grateful and impressed ... she even threw in an eye treatment for my puffy eyes. FOOD: This is always a major topic on all cruises. Who can really say if the food is good or bad? It's very subjective and we all have our own tastes. I read all kinds of stories about how the food had declined on Celebrity, but you could fool me. With rare exception, the food was delicious in all the venues we ate (we did not dine in Murano or Tuscan Grille). One caveat, and this provided many laughs at our table, was Day 5 when Pea Soup with Mint appeared on the menu. A few of us at the table love chilled soups and after 2 nights of delicious blackberry and strawberry soup, we took a chance with the pea. It was the the most abhorrent, disgusting soup I have ever tasted. I took one sip and quietly pushed the bowl away. If I post any picture here it may be that. I thought it might only be me but as each person at our table sampled their soup the reactions were priceless. Order this soup at your own peril. But I enjoyed rack of lamb which was out of this world and on lobster night our waiter recommended the beef tenderloin. I learned early on to always listen to him; he never led me down the wrong path. Even on pea soup night he had suggested something else. Those ordering the lobster were disappointed; people forget this isn't Maine lobster ... it's Caribbean lobster which is a whole different story. It was ½ lobster with crabmeat stuffing. It didn't come out of the shell well at all and it was very messy to eat. I don't remember everything I ate over the week, but I know it was way too much. Everything was delicious ... poached eggs and smoked salmon on a muffin, cheesecake, shrimp cocktail, escargot, all the Danish, the donuts that appeared far too rarely, the spaghetti tossed with your choice of a gazillion ingredients, the afore mentioned lamb chops all come quickly to mind. And everyday a new and wonderful ice cream; the blueberry was one of my favorites. One more word about food: I keep remembering the words "If we build it they will come". That's also true when creating buffet style dining. If you put food out, people will help themselves to more than they should ever eat. Breakfast is the most amazing meal on a cruise ship. People walk from station to station helping themselves to every imaginable morsel of food and then have the nerve to come home and complain about the decline in food ... just a little pet peeve of mine. The waffles were so popular (and yummy) there was a line. True story: One plucky woman stood waiting for the waffles while a line of about 8 people formed. Only 4 waffles come off the griddle at a time. Yet this woman grabbed 2, added a couple slices of stuffed French toast and a few banana pancakes. She then pushed in front of me and helped herself to toppings and, of course, whipped cream. I was dying to follow her to see if she actually ate it all. None of my business if people want to devour every morsel in sight ... just don't complain that the food just isn't up to par on cruise ships anymore. And finally ... to the young man who'd enjoyed a few too many at the Pool Bar on our last day at sea who wouldn't believe my age because his mother was a few years younger, I salute you. Tipsy or not, you made my day. Maybe Celebrity placed you there just to make me feel good as I make my way into the next decade, maybe there was money involved but who cares. The cruise really was a nice way to 'celebrate' a banner year and having just a few things go wrong didn't even cast a shadow. Celebrity still shines brightly and wears the crown for me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
My wife and I truly enjoyed sailing to the Western Caribbean with the Solstice. The service and attention to detail made this trip all the worthwhile. From the food, activities and great customer service all contributed to a most enjoyable ... Read More
My wife and I truly enjoyed sailing to the Western Caribbean with the Solstice. The service and attention to detail made this trip all the worthwhile. From the food, activities and great customer service all contributed to a most enjoyable time. From the time we boarded the ship we could tell the staff of the Celebrity were very organized and well trained in handling the crowds. We stayed in Aqua Class on deck 11. Our room had easy access to the Aqua Spa facilities and the Persian Garden area as well (which we used every day). Staying with Aqua Class also gave us access to the restaurant Blu. This was our choice for evening dinner sitting between 6:00 - 7:00pm. We enjoyed the food there as it was all well cooked and the perfect temperature each serving. You must try their salmon - excellent. I also booked an evening with Silk Harvest restaurant - a specialty restaurant. This was a very filling dining experience - a little too much salt added, but all in all, very good food. It's a mixture of several Asian styles of cooking. We also ate at the buffet most mornings before our land excursions. They were opened early and offered plenty of variety enough to satisfy even the most pickiest of people. The sushi (afternoons) was plentiful and fresh daily. They even had my favorite morning dish - Nova Lox! Yum! Very good! Most of the activities were geared toward our senior travelers, but that didn't bother us in the least. The shows at the theater were all very entertaining and well enjoyed by all who attended. We chose this cruise ship because of the low key traveling experience. There were no loud partying crowds to deal with - this was a plus for us. If you're looking for this type of cruise then be sure to book on the Solstice - you won't be disappointed in the least. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Celebrity Solstice was a great ship to sail on.The service on the ship was very good but not overly smothering. when we required something from the stateroom attendant it was done quickly and cheerfully. My wife needed ice for a knee ... Read More
Celebrity Solstice was a great ship to sail on.The service on the ship was very good but not overly smothering. when we required something from the stateroom attendant it was done quickly and cheerfully. My wife needed ice for a knee problem, not only was it there when we asked for it,but he made sure the ice bucket was always full.The room was clean and well appointed which made it a pleasant home away from home. The balcony was larger than I expected so it did not feel confining. The food was surprisingly good,as I expected less. The food at the Ocean view Buffet was decent for buffet fare. Breakfast had items from British cuisine as well as more traditional foods. It was good and satisfying,however the coffee was very strong, which was a standing joke between the waiters and the passengers. The baked items were better than expected and plentiful. The dessert items were very tasty and always had good items that were sugar free or no sugar added. Pizza was also very good. The Epernay Restaurant was the main dining room. The food was varied and tasty. I felt there was something for every taste. The wait staff was attentive,except as one night when the kitchen featured a special staff program. Other than that the only criticism was that the wine was overpriced for the quality. The wait staff was generally friendly, caring and efficient. They really aimed to please. By the way,does anyone want to get rid of those phony formal nights? The entertainment was where the quality was mediocre. They had a Cirque de Soleil type show that was too long and boring for my taste. You needed to be in the balcony to enjoy it without getting a neck strain. There was a magician/comedian who was pretty good,and a stand up comic who was hilarious without being too suggestive.He was the best The rest of the production shows were corny and boring. The singer had a wonderful voice but could not connect with the audience. The Ship's Captain performed for us,playing a guitar and singing. he was quite good. The main disappointing aspect of the cruise was the number of senior citizens on the trip. They were actually amusing trying to get on the elevators first because they passed their bedtime watching the late(9:00)show. Because of that it seems as if the late night life was lacking.We really needed more young people to liven up the trip. The Crew, including the Captain, participated in activities at night and in the pool,which I found to be very refreshing. It personalised them to the guests Also the shill who promotes particular shopping sites w\did her thing but it wasn't anywhere as bad ads on a previous cruise. All said, I was very satisfied with this vacation and would sail Celebrity and the Solstice again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Overall, the cruise was enjoyable....but there were a few areas that could use some improving. Food....it was excellent. We ate in the MDR each night, except for one visit to the Tuscan Grill. The service by Melisa and Igor was wonderful ... Read More
Overall, the cruise was enjoyable....but there were a few areas that could use some improving. Food....it was excellent. We ate in the MDR each night, except for one visit to the Tuscan Grill. The service by Melisa and Igor was wonderful and all of the menu choices were wonderful. We ate breakfast most days in the Oceanview Buffet. Only ate one lunch up there, but all meals there were very good. If you don't want to eat a lot and just want a small bite, the coffee cafe had great little sandwiches and mini desserts. The Tuscan Grill is not to be missed...food was outstanding! Chocolate fondue for dessert. Entertainment: This is the major area, that we were disappointed in. The production shows....Ghost Light....drab background..good singers, but the dancers appeared to be very young. The juggler was funny, but the singer who did famous singers was lacking. He tried to make it up with energy. All the other cruises we have been on, had amazing production shows...lots of backgrounds and costume changes...on this cruise, it was pretty blah. Activities: What activities? No games like the Marriage game, no other games but a few trivia contests. No extra entertainment shows like on Princess. We often found ourselves with little to do. I don't think a 60's party where you have to stand in a crowded stairway to see them perform on the steps is that entertaining. The show was only about 20 minutes as who wants to stand for that long in a crowd? We got the feeling this was a cruise for people who think they were too sophisticated for games. Accommodations...very nice, big bathroom. Ports: All OK, but didn't get to Grand Cayman as the sea was too rough. Overall, it was a good cruise, I just wish there had been more to do. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We are a couple in our 70's who love to travel. I am retired navy and my wife is a retired homemaker. I have been on 5 previous cruises, 1 sailing cruise on the schooner Mary Day out of Camden, Maine, 2 on Norwegian (Wind & Pearl) ... Read More
We are a couple in our 70's who love to travel. I am retired navy and my wife is a retired homemaker. I have been on 5 previous cruises, 1 sailing cruise on the schooner Mary Day out of Camden, Maine, 2 on Norwegian (Wind & Pearl) and 1 each on Royal Caribbean (Jewel of the Seas) and Grand Princess. Celebrity Solstice was by far the most beautiful ship I had sailed on. We traveled on Southwest Airlines from Dallas Love Field to Fort Lauderdale the day prior to the sailing date. We stayed in the Crown Royal hotel near the cruise terminal. On the day of the cruise we traveled from the Lauderdale International airport to the cruise pier via taxi and upon arrival at the pier were met by a porter to take care of the luggage and he complemented us on having our luggage tags on our bags which saved he and us time. Once in the terminal building we were whisk through check in about 15 minutes and were onboard in record time. Easiest check in ever for a cruise ship. We were issued our room cards and included was a map of the ship which helped in locating all the necessary places for initial boarding. Our stateroom was a balcony on deck 6 port side. Some of the staterooms on that deck had a limited view due to the tenders and lifeboats being outboard. Ours however was situated between two tender davits and the view was unobstructed. The bed was comfortable and there was ample storage room for all clothes and luggage. Life vests were stored under the bed but there was still room for our suitcases. The bathroom was spacious compared to others that we had experienced. The shower was especially nice and large by cruise ship standards. We read that the staterooms and bathrooms were all designed by 5 women who were experienced travelers and knew what was expected of passengers. Ships schematics were available at each elevator station and other places throughout the ship. There was no excuse for getting lost. As is usual with any ship the orientation of fore and aft took some getting used to but once mastered was easy to navigate. All public spaces were beautifully decorated and ample seating was always available throughout the ship. We chose early dining which was a 6:30 and initially we had a table for two but then a couple next to us decided to see if it was possible to join a group table. We were informed the next day that our table number had been changed and we joined a table of 6 couples which make the dining experience much more enjoyable. Service was impeccable and we were granted whatever we ask of the waiter. We participated in several onboard activities including Bocce on the lawn on deck 15. That was also the level on which the Corning Glass works of NY were being demonstrated by three very talented glass blowers. The process of watching a blob of molten glass become a beautiful Venetian vase, or a bowl, or even a fish was fascinating to watch. Each of the ships in the Solstice class has this exhibition onboard. OF course there were the usual onboard activities of trivia, bingo, a card room, library and casino. Staff and services were exceptional. We made use of the Guest Relations on the last day as sea due to a foul up on my part with the airline that we were to take to return to Dallas. The staff person on the deck allowed us to use the ship-to-shore phone and remedy our situation to the satisfaction of all concerned. Our room steward was exceptional in that he outdid himself to make us feel right at home. Entertainment was available throughout the ship during the day and of course in the evening. The staging of the shows was exceptional in that the aerial acts were outstanding and breathtaking in some respects. There were not as many off ship entertainers aboard the Solstice as had been on other ships. However the onboard stars were very good. Staging was exceptional and colorful. Of course many shore excursions were offered. We partook of two. One in Costa Maya where I took the one to the Mayan ruins of Chacchoben which entailed an hour bus ride to the ruins through swamps, jungle, and flatland to arrive at the destination. Our guide for this particular excursion was very knowledgeable giving us a detailed history of the Mayan people and the area. Then in Roatan we took the Jolly Roger Catamaran excursion for those snorkelers who were both beginner and advanced. Lunch was served onboard the cat and of course we got rained on which was no big deal. Included in this excursion was a trip to Gambalimba Park where we learned about pirates and crossed a swinging bridge and arrived at the Macaw exhibit and was told to watch our glasses and the button on top of ball caps as the Macaws liked to take those. Sure enough some buttons were lost. Next was on to the monkey exhibit where the monkeys had the run of the place. The little spider monkeys were the hit of the day. They were all over the place and people enjoyed holding and petting them. Of course all good things must come to an end and we sailed for Fort Lauderdale and upon arrival the disembarkation ordeal was a snap. I have never experiences such a smooth disembarkation with so many passengers. Overall the Celebrity Solstice was a very enjoyable experience and one that will be repeated I sure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We took the June 6 sailing on the Solstice because we had not been on Celebrity in a long time, and based on others who sailed on Solstice I thought ok. Hm, well, as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first ... Read More
We took the June 6 sailing on the Solstice because we had not been on Celebrity in a long time, and based on others who sailed on Solstice I thought ok. Hm, well, as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, held true. Beautiful ship but cold, lacking the warmth and charm of Holland America ships. Check-in was decent, and on board rather quickly. HOWEVER, upon entering the hallway to our stateroom, the hallway smelled like a blocked sewer. Numerous complaints netted housekeeping putting carpet fresh on the rugs and "the smell will go away," it did not-the hallway stunk the entire trip. I quickly learned to avoid passing through the library on the port side to avoid the stench. Not sure if other passengers smelled it-if not they had no sense of smell. Muster or must-we Our location was in the Photo area-way,way too many people in a small, hot confined area. The crew person shouting at the passengers was totally useless-I was in the back of the line; could not see nor hear anything. then someone said - "watch the video." Of course it was un-viewable by 99% of us slobs standing for 45 minutes. Other passengers said they were in lounges, etc. Not a good idea to force passengers to stand for extended periods of time. That started off the trip on the wrong life boat and quickly sank the rest of the trip. OK - on to another topic. This was the 20th anniversary of Celebrity Cruise Lines and the Captain's Club "events" were pathetic. Who has a Captain's Club event with a cash bar? Rather, they should have just served iced tea or water. To sit in the lounge waiting for someone to cut the cake was a waste of time. Better to do something at dinner for EVERYONE. Entertainment - much better than other cruise lines - Royal Caribbean has ice skating shows-Celebrity had the Cirque-type shows which were spectacular. Cabin - Concierge -no real closet space; had to get on the floor to use the safe;sheltered balcony-great, however I could hear the passengers on either side talking when they were on their balconies. Decent size shower but no storage space. I did enjoy warm underwear because the refrigerator is part of the dresser. Way too much stuff in the fridg; asked to have it removed but it stayed the entire trip untouched. A bottle of some sparkling wine and less and great quality fruit were in the cabin; also you had to put out the "send me the canapes" card every day and be in the cabin to receive them; otherwise nothing arrived. Well, I opened the cover and laughed - 6 teeny, tiny "canapes," and it's a crime to call them that were on a huge dish. It would have been better to have a happy hour than receive them. Nice idea; big disappointment. Tipping - paid for tips in advance and tipped our cabin person extra for great service. Ports - Grand Cayman was HOT, HOT, HOT, loaded with 5 ships in port. Took a tour;gave up on shopping and went back to the ship. Way too many rude, inconsiderate tourists on the small streets Cozumel - only shopped at the flea market Costa Maya - nasty vendors who walk away from you while trying to purchase items. I dislike vendors shouting at me. Roatan - interesting and would consider seeing more. Food - generally decent-first nights meal was great-downhill after that in the main dining room. Enjoyed Tuscan Grill; Bistro was fair; buffet had the best breakfast around. Other meals were ok - but nothing special. No 24-hour buffet as on Princess. Disembarkation: Total nightmare due to the Port of Fort Lauderdale being without power due to storms. Celebrity made an announcement around 8AM informing passengers of the "problem," and it went downhill from there. Staff and crew were overwhelmed and ill-prepared for the event-inadequate communications from anyone. I saw staff yelling at disabled passengers - hey like it's the passengers fault. We FINALLY got off the ship at 12:30;stood in a long conga-line for almost another hour before we got out of the terminal only to be told "Oh, your transfer bus isn't coming because your ship was late," so we shared a cab to the airport for $10 a couple. No more "transfer" bus trips. Bottom line - although the price of the trip cam down and we got an upgrade and a credit; it will be a very long time before I thing about Celbrity again . They really nead to "get their act together." Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
This was our 20th cruise, taken over our 40th Anniversary, using the Ship as our destination since we've taken other Western Caribbean itineraries in the past and weren't interested in swimming with the stingrays for the third ... Read More
This was our 20th cruise, taken over our 40th Anniversary, using the Ship as our destination since we've taken other Western Caribbean itineraries in the past and weren't interested in swimming with the stingrays for the third time or visiting Roatan or disembarking in the Cayman Islands again. We did take a tour to the Chacchoben Mayan ruins which we booked privately with Native Choice along with a group of other Cruise Critic Roll Call Members and enjoyed immensely. Take bug spray and sun tan lotion, wear cool clothes and a hat. We were lucky, we had cloud cover and the heat was bearable, otherwise it could have been a sweltering experience! Intelligent guide and fascinating historic site to visit. Highly recommend. Our first impression of the Solstice was very favorable, fast embarkation, friendly staff and a refreshing glass of champagne or orange juice offered by smiling crew. The ship itself is new and beautiful and contemporary in decor. There is easy walking access from dining-rooms and specialty restaurants to theater and great elevator availability from staterooms to all floors, including pool area and cafes. None of that varying levels with up and down stairs just to walk from one end of the ship to the other on the same floor. And no need to ever walk through a smokey and noisy Casino, another plus! We were in the perfect location mid-ship. Our balcony, which we enjoyed every afternoon for a couple of hours after leaving the Solarium, was very over sized being on the bump out portion of the ship. Here we had two of the most comfortable adjustable chairs with foot rests, and a convenient table for resting our drinks and books. The stateroom itself was a bit of a squeeze and the small closet inconveniently located and difficult to access with sliding panel doors right next to the bed that we constantly had to push one way or the other to find anything. I much prefer a real closet with opening doors and a hallway entry. Of course the trade off was having a larger bathroom with a really commodious shower. Being in AquaClass meant we could enjoy some additional perks: The Pharo Spa shower head and body jets were wonderful, as were the Spa body wash, shampoos and conditioners. There was even a shower bar to rest your foot for shaving legs! The Frette robes were a nice touch too. We had a bottle of chilled champagne in our room with a plate of fresh fruit that was refreshed as needed and two bottles of water replenished at no additional charge. Blu, the restaurant designated for AquaClass, was intimate and nestled among the other specialty restaurants and offered a limited but tasteful selection for dinner. The breakfast menu was adequate, but not always up to the mark. Bacon was never crisp or hot as requested and in fact, very fatty, eggs either overdone or undercooked. Toast never hot. By the fifth night, we discovered that we could easily order off the menu and they would bring offerings from the MDR if requested. Wish I had known that earlier since escargot, Caesar salad, shrimp cocktail, etc. would have been preferred to the very limited appetizers on Blu's menu. The entrees themselves were usually good, although on the last night, I asked for both the lamb shank and duck breast and thankful I did, as the lamb shank was tough and inedible. What we especially loved was the Solarium pool area, with lovely soft and meditative type music. This area is off limits to children under 16 and thankfully, we found that everyone complied as we never saw or heard any kids whatsoever during the entire week of blissful quiet. The Spa Cafe and the Spa itself were wonderful! My husband and I each had the Hot Stone Massages which were fantastic and worth every penny and later in the week, I enjoyed one of the Spa specials of an hour of exfoliation, back, foot and scalp massage and facial. We loved the Serenity Garden too with the heated beds and saunas. We were in there every day, enjoying the warmth on our backs and blessed quiet in unlimited access to AquaClass passengers. So all in all, we had a wonderful week of relaxation and reading. Our Anniversary night fell on the first formal night and we ate in the top rated specialty restaurant, Murano. We prepaid $70 for this privilege, but didn't regret it as the food was very good and the service was excellent. Not at all as pretentious and over the top as some of the other specialty restaurants on other ships which we unfortunately have experienced. Once we discovered that the Spa Cafe was open for breakfast, we ate there the balance of the week as the offerings were so fresh and innovative. Most of the time, we ate lunch there as well with the one exception of sampling Bistro on 5, the crepe restaurant which we enjoyed for a unique experience. China Harvest was fantastic, but entirely too much food and so much wasted. They served two people as if we were six! There was an additional cost for this specialty restaurant as well, but well worth the extra amount. It was all out of this world, but we waddled away, close to being uncomfortable with having overeaten. The ship decor itself, rather more contemporary than our usual subdued and traditional taste, grew on us and by the end, we found ourselves growing used to the spare look in the restaurants. By striking contrast, many of the public rooms all looked like an overstuffed private men's clubroom, huge over-sized chairs, and in the bar areas, dark walls and very dim lighting. And last but far from least, this is the first cruise in ten years where we were not in the Theater every night enjoying some form of wonderful entertainment. In fact, due to technical glitches on the first night, no one was and when finally, a show was put on midweek, it was merciful that my husband and I decided to pass since everyone said it was the worst thing they have ever seen in their lives.....amateurish and embarrassing. Many people actually got up from their seats and walked out, I was told. The one big production show, Pulse, which we finally attended on our last night at sea was really poor. A hodgepodge of loud noise, uneven singing, unmemorable numbers all senselessly jumbled together with second rate entertainers preening on stage. No star personalities to be found. It was a mess. Very surprising considering some of the very best shows we ever saw was on another Celebrity ship several years back, the Constellation. Oddly, where the other entertainment was to be found was way down on level two or three in the main center lobby requiring everyone to stand and listen on all the floors while leaning on the overlooking railings. Here we saw at various times and from a great distance an acapella group, a band with two talented female singers and a string quartet. Coming out of Blu in the evenings surrounding one of the many bars on board, there was a jazz combo alternating with the string quartet.....both excellent. So would we go back on a Celebrity cruise......you bet!! As long as that No Children Allowed Solarium stays in business, they'll get ours! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This review is for the Celebrity Solstice for the 1-3-2010 and 1-10-2010 sailings. By W John Johnston. Since I am Disabled, I had checked into reserving a Wheelchair stateroom, but decided against it since I only have to use a cane. Even ... Read More
This review is for the Celebrity Solstice for the 1-3-2010 and 1-10-2010 sailings. By W John Johnston. Since I am Disabled, I had checked into reserving a Wheelchair stateroom, but decided against it since I only have to use a cane. Even though the wheelchair stateroom would have given us more room, the AquaClass space was larger than a normal stateroom on other ships. Including the veranda. When I made the reservation, I looked at the available staterooms and selections that were available for both cruises and selected one that was available for both cruises so we would not even have to pack and move between the Back to Back cruises. Before the cruise I contacted Celebrity about getting a shower seat put in the cabin for me. This was acknowledged, but none was there when we arrived. Our Room Steward (Serio) greeted us by name when we went to our room upon boarding, and when I asked about the shower seat, he immediately went and brought two so I could pick the one I liked best. He also greeted us by name during both cruises every time he saw us. In AquaClass, there is a bottle of Champagne in your room when you sail, two half liter bottles of water, an urn of Tea and a bowl of fruit every day. ( The oranges, apples, and grapes were fine, but the bananas were black in large areas, and the pears were rock hard but the ones we got the first week ripened by the second week) There is a mini bar refrigerator in the room that we used to keep things cold in. Being AquaClass, we had free run of the Persian Garden which consisted of a few heated tile/cement beds, a sauna, and a steam room . That's it. Everything else is available to everyone. The literature makes it appear that the Solarium and the relaxation room are only for AquaClass. Not so, they are available for every one. In AquaClass during the first cruise, We ate our evening meals in Blu at an assigned table for two that was 6 inches from another table for two, in a grouping of 5 tables. No one ever sat at the other 3 tables. Blue was never more than half full for the entire cruise. After a couple of meals, We would go look at the Grand Epernay menu and since all meals are prepared in the same Galley, we could order from that menu when we tired of the Blu menu. The second cruise we opted out of Blu so we could have an assigned table in the main dining room. The second cruise is when Celebrity went to "select" dining which means that you do not have to have assigned seating and you will be seated at an available table in the main dining room. You can also be seated in Blu if you are AquaClass. The Tuscan Grill, Silk Harvest, Murano, Blu, and The Bistro on Five are all Specialty restaurants and there is an added per person charge. In the Ocean View Cafe and Bar (the Buffet Area), there are no trays to carry food with, but I did not have a problem with that. All I had to do was walk into the area and someone would walk up to carry whatever I wanted, go to all the food areas, and then to our table. Waiters were always roaming with water and coffee and would go for a refill of whatever else you might be drinking. The AquaSpa Cafe was at the indoor Solarium and had healthy food items for lunch. Yogurt, Salads, etc. The Mast Bar and Grill was a great place to get a lunch. It is located on the upper Pool deck and has Hot Dogs, Bratwurst, Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Nachos, Chili, Hot Wings, French fries, and Onion Rings just to name the most obvious. They also have sodas, beer, and the bar has all the other beverages. The one thing missing was a place to sit down. They had five 24 inch round tables with 3 chairs at each table. If you did not have a lounge chair around the pool, you had to stand and eat or carry your lunch to find a place to eat it. The lifeboat drill was different in the respect that we did not need lifejackets on, or have to go outside (It was cold outside). Everyone went to 'A' muster station. On other ships, the crew checked off your name on a muster sheet when you arrived at your muster station. This time, nothing. On the second cruise we went to the theater Muster station by accident and stayed so I did not have to stand during the drill, and no one was the wiser. The AquaClass stateroom was roomy and you could recline the veranda deck chair and relax with room to spare. When we ordered Room Service Breakfast it was served on the dot at he time it was requested, and everything was piping hot. The bed is listed as a Queen size when the two are mated, but We have a queen size bed at home, and the stateroom bed was much larger. If it is not a King Size, it is not far off. It was extremely comfortable and we had three different types and sizes of pillows to use. The amenities in our bathroom were outstanding. Cotton Balls, Q-tips, Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, Hair Moose (?), Hand Lotion, etc. The tissues were thin but adequate if you used three at the same time when you blew your nose. The retractable clothesline in the shower on the other cruise ships has been eliminated. Wet bathing suits must be placed on a veranda deck chair to dry. One problem with the bathroom was the sink. The spout extended halfway into the bowl and was in the way whenever you tried to use the sink. It was pretty, but not functional at all. The Shower was fantastic. There were 5 torso spray heads and one overhead spray. You could select overhead only, torso only or both torso and overhead. The center of the control was for temperature so it was just right when you turned on the water. There is a lot of storage space (modular closet, large safe, drawers, cabinets). We had three Pullman suitcases and there was room for everything. There is ample space under the bed for suitcase storage also. We sent a bag of clothes to the laundry and everything came back clean and neatly folded. Slacks were pressed and the dress shirts were lightly starched and ironed. The cost was about $23 and change. The room TV did not work correctly when I tried to display our position during the second week (a minor thing) and then quit altogether. I called customer service and the re-booted my unit and then it worked fine. It was great for keeping tabs on our account an spending. In the Spa I had a Deep Tissue and Muscle Massage and a Swedish Massage while Mar opted for the Swedish Massage and a Facial during the cruises. All were fantastic. The In-Port prices are less than At Sea prices and since the number of people wanting a massage is less, Natasha spent over an hour and a half with me on each of my sessions. The internet room had about 40 terminals, and if you were Elite, you get 90 free minutes each of air time. Otherwise for about $30, you can, purchase time. There is someone there at certain times to assist you if you need help. The hot tubs seemed cold, and everyone I talked to said the same thing. I went down to customer relations and complained that the water was too cold. The next day I received a message that they follow some health code that specifies the water be no hotter than 99 degrees. Today I did some investigating and it appears that 102 is the optimum, and 104 is the maximum temperature not 99. The stage shows were great. It is amazing what they can accomplish at sea. In the theater, you should try to get there a little early or you might find yourself in the back third of the theater with a 24 inch column in front of you. There are 6 of them obscuring ones vision. As far as music on the ship, We were greatly disappointed. The times and type of music was disappointing compared to the other Celebrity ships we have cruised on. Ballroom dancing was almost non existent. There is no Rendezvous Lounge to meet . Have a cocktail and dance with friends before or after dinner. There was a DJ that played danceable music, but never at the same time each day. Sometimes at 5:45 sometimes at 7:30 to 8:30 pm sometimes at 10:00 pm. One never knew when. In trying to use the public restrooms, they all had handicapped door opener buttons. I found two on the entire ship that worked. The other doors had to be pulled open to go in. I reported three on the first cruise and they were still inoperable at the end of the second cruise. There was No Carnival Night with the party band. The one night the party band was to play at poolside, they did not show up. There was NO Grand Midnight Buffet. There was No Watermelon Parade. There was NO Chocolate Buffet. There were NO after dinner mints upon leaving the dining rooms. There is NO enforcement of dress code. Wear anything you want, anytime you want, anywhere you want At the Captain's Party, the invitations said Smart Casual. (Slacks, Shirt with collar) It specifically said NO JEANS OR SHORTS. At the door were senior officers greeting everyone, but they still allowed at least one guy I saw that had a tee shirt and shorts to enter. On Formal night in Blu, I was the only guy in a tux, with one other guy in a white dinner jacket and a handful of dark suits. The remainder of the men were in sport shirts, some with jeans, and one guy in flip flops. The dress code could have been enforced by telling them that their attire was suitable for dining in the Ocean View Cafe on formal night. On the Summit I finished the books I took along for the cruise/tour and went to the library to see what there was to read. There was about a dozen or more books by Stuart Woods. I figured if someone stocked that many books by one author, I could give him a try. He is one of my favorite authors now. On the Solstice, the library needs attention. It is a confusing mess starting on the 10th deck with some of the bookshelves going to the 11th deck and no way to get up to them. Fortunes Casino had all the games of chance that are normally found on large cruise ships. Why they increase their minimum bet from $5.00 to $10.00 in the evening is beyond me. I know why Las Vegas and Atlantic City do it, but not why a cruise ship does it. I like to start each session at the tables with a $5.00 bet. Before the session is over, my bets are usually $25.00. I normally like to play on formal nights and usually have a Vodka Martini, Shaken, not Stirred while I am playing. It's a Bond thing I guess. I won about $400 for this cruise. Anytime I Come out ahead I am happy, and I am always happy. All in all, they were good cruises. NOT GREAT but good. I took pictures of the Menus in Blu and Grand Epernay if anyone would like to see them. If there is anything that anyone would like more information about, let me know. W John Johnston Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was our first cruise on the Solstice although we have done other Celebrity cruises and are now in "Elite" status which turned out to be very nice. We stayed overnight as usual at the Embassy Suites where we always enjoy the ... Read More
This was our first cruise on the Solstice although we have done other Celebrity cruises and are now in "Elite" status which turned out to be very nice. We stayed overnight as usual at the Embassy Suites where we always enjoy the pool, managers' nightly snacks and drinks and the ease of taking their $7 shuttle to the pier. although we both use canes for distance we made the mistake of not requesting a wheelchair for my spouse. Check in went very smoothly but here was a 3 ramp climb up to the ship. If you are at all impaired get a wheelchair went to check in!!! Also get one for disembarkation. It took us 1/2 to get off the bait ;porters were not allowed to jump the line!Sine the boat i large it is a good idea ,if impaired, to print our deck plans before you go; the little map you get at check in is not adequate. There are only 2 sets of elevators but once you use them it is easier to get to aft or forward with less walking. Our room ws ready at 1pm when we arrived. We like the back of the boat( yes it is a hike) and had concierge service. The chilled champagne and fruit were waiting for us. Lunch in the Mast cafe was very good with many stations and choices. Coffee as usual on cruises was awful. "Elite " status came with many nice perks. Free Internet minutes, continental breakfast in Michael's Club every morning and free drinks in the Sky Lounge every evening, a very nice Captain;s lunch and entertainment, free laundry service and discounts at the spa. This is not really a boat for kids although they did have the 15th front Deck for them. The family pool is small as is the adult pool next to it. Both were usually mobbed. The Aqua Spa pool lacks the usual bars with bubbles and the overhead showers. It was also cold . The Persian Garden was crowded and not a pretty as on Summit. The dining room is lovely , all silver and white and anytime dining was fine. We did eat most eves. in the buffet and also tried the Bistro which is Oriental decor and serves crepes which was a nice change. The sofa in the cabin is leather and not very comfortable. The beds have frette linens and lots of comfy pillows.The shower in the bathroom has curved doors which made it easy to use.The wash basin is too small to rinse things out so plan to send out laundry or pack a lot. Our stewards were very hard working and managed our requests efficiently. The production shows were good especially the "cirque du Soleil "type. The entertainment has improved over the years. There is a very funny entertainer named Adam who is part of the production shows as well as the gymnasts who are truly amazing. The jazz band ,Itones pianist and guitar player were also very good. The ship is very sophisticated with a 15 floor atrium showcasing the grand stairway.library and a beautiful mangrove tree growing out of a red floral container. There are easy toreade diagrams at each floor to indicate the attractions on that floor. This boat also has the most shopping on a cruise ship but don't try to find a magazine! The library is beautiful but had a very poor selection of books-disappointing. The celebrity life program offered 4-5 programs each sea day on a variety of topics. It is a beautiful boat and a definite change. For those of us wobbly seniors a Millenium class boat is probably a better cjoic but as always Celebrity is good value and a great cruising experience Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Celebrity Solstice Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 4.5 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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